NEWARK - Rookie Artem Anisimov has played on the first, second and third lines, but last night, for the second consecutive game, the 21-year-old center was on the fourth unit with Jody Shelley and Brandon Prust.
"We've talked about it," said coach John Tortorella. "When I had him with [Ryan Callahan] and [Chris Drury] at times, he readily admitted that it's a different game when you're playing against top players. Although he did a pretty good job checking, it's just too tough for him. I thought he felt more comfortable playing with a couple rugged guys."
Anisimov, who scored his 11th goal against the Islanders, agreed that he felt "the pressure playing against top lines . . . I'm a young guy, I was a little nervous and now it's a little more comfortable. But I try to play my best with everyone and help the team win."
Avery at it again
Sean Avery engaged in some pre-game jawing during warm-ups. At the Garden on Wednesday, the conversation was with the Islanders' Trevor Gillies and spilled into the game. Last night, the yapping was with David Clarkson.
Since his benching in Atlanta, Avery has been productive - and disruptive. He had three goals and two assists in the five games prior to last night's match and registered an assist on Brandon Dubinsky's goal in the second period.
Defenseman Michal Rozsival has revived his game, and has avoided some early season critiques from Tortorella. "For a person that people kicked the snot out of, and I have too, early on, his compete level has been raised this year," Tortorella said, "and most important, it's been more consistent, and that's why he's getting the minutes and on the power play now."